msnbc.com
updated 9/12/2005 1:02:20 PM ET 2005-09-12T17:02:20

Reader:
Below is a selection of e-mail comments we’ve received in recent days to stories by our writers. Several have been edited for length.

• Aug. 25, 2005

Doctor in trouble for calling patient obese

I just finished your article regarding the doctor being sued for calling a woman obese.  This should be a wake-up call to all doctors.
I have been told that I was overweight by two different doctors (both of them of the same culture/nationality).  And every time I go in to visit my current doctor, the first question out of his mouth is "How are you doing on losing weight?"  I didn't visit him regarding my weight.  I could have a stick shoved up my nose and he blames it on my weight.
My original doctor (again, of the same culture/nationality) told me ONE time how I could lose weight and that was the end of it.
I understand that doctors have a responsibility to tell their patients about their health or how their patients' lifestyles can affect their health.  However, I am an adult and am aware that I should lose weight (and quit smoking for that matter).  And as an adult, I will do so when I feel ready to do it. 
Kerrianne

This is to the FAT LADY in New Hampshire, GET A LIFE. Dr. Bennett is only doing his job.  If you take your car to a mechanic, you would expect the mechanic to tell you what's wrong and what needs to be done to fix it, right? For Dr Bennett to be investigated for something so ridulous makes the country as a whole look like a bunch of morons. The thought of any medical board or judge that will listen to something so utterly ridiculous, makes me want to go to another country for medical attention. I want to thank Dr Bennett for a job well done. Oh, and yes I have been told PLENTY of times that I need to lose weight, so I know what I'm talking about.
Jean, SC

Hawaii sets caps on wholesale gas prices

We spend half the year in Hawaii and the most expensive gas is on Lanai and Molokai Government should put the cap on gas on ALL THE ISLANDS .The two mentioned islands are the poorest and highest in unemployment . It is sad that gas there right now is $3 + It seems to me that someone is punishing those two islands with everything that is most expensive.
BJ

That's probably the best idea the Government should listen to in 200 years. By doing this politicians have no reason with the oil companies to screw the public over anymore. They all made their money, now let's give us a break.
Ed Heick

Can technology help find oil fast enough?

I would like to suggest one more tip that could save 10-20% WITHOUT drivers having to alter their vehicle or route choice:  DRIVE SLOWER, ie perhaps the speed limit!
I am continually amazed at the number of drivers who exceed the speed limit.  My estimate, from personal experience, would be 75-95% of the drivers I see on the road drive too fast.  I am always amused when I drive down the exit ramp coming off the expressway, stop at the traffic light and see many of the motorists who zoomed by me waiting for the light with me!!  Driving fast might save minutes occasionally, but more likely seconds.  Just imagine if all drivers in our country slowed down and we cut our gas consumption by 10-20%.  The upward pressure on gas/oil prices would be drastically reduced and we would all benefit from a cleaner environment.
Tom Cardillo

• Aug. 24, 2005

Armstrong 'fooled' world, Tour boss says

The French once again prove why we hate them (See: Armstrong Fooled Us).  The French think that they own the Tour de France and that the domination by one American like Lance Armstrong is so unthinkable that they will not let go of the fact that maybe he's just the best Tour rider ever.
There is no hiding the fact that while Lance may not be the best overall cyclist, he spent his entire season training for the Tour and knew how to win with his team.  The French can't admit that an AMERICAN of all people could dominate their event. The record reflects that that Lance is the most tested cyclist of all time. Even on the last tour he had to submit to tests that others did not. My message to the French, thanks for confirming that you're egocentric cry babies.  Statements like this make me wonder why we bothered to save you from Hitler. 
Barry D. Johnson

Connecticut challenges No Child Left Behind

There really aren’t any failing schools, just failing students. What incentive does NCLB offer to the children to succeed? Children in general are not invested in saving teacher or principal jobs by succeeding. Children with strong family support, and an interest in learning always succeed. Disadvantaged children who struggle with daily problems like wondering where their next meal will come from, or how they will get home without getting shot in a gang confrontation are not focusing on improving their performance on arbitrary testing. Poor neighborhoods can’t afford better physical facilities, and in some areas can’t afford learning materials. Most states do have requirements for certified public school teachers however.
NCLB is a political boondoggle designed by people with little or no true (recent classroom experience). Teacher certification in states like Connecticut is so rigorous that I sometimes wonder why I didn't just become a lawyer or doctor. They have tough standards too, but the pay and respect are much higher. Don't use your news department to make NCLB sound like a good deal. It has turned our educational system into a complicated and cumbersome bureaucratic nightmare. The failure of this government mandated unfunded program far out ways any of its successes.
Tom Beebe

Why Haven't Energy Prices Stoked Inflation?

Your article completely ignores the enormous trucking industry, which at some point hauls everything that is sold in the US, as well as all the raw materials to manufacture everything.  Trucking is such a narrow margin profit industry that it cannot continue to pay the rising fuel prices without a rise in transportation rates. This affects every other industry and every product sold in any store.  How can it not affect inflation?
The argument that energy costs are only a small part of a household expense (as in heat/AC/electricity) completely ignores this area of rising cost, as if transportation of goods and raw materials did not exist.
Many trucking companies went out of business in the past five years, and thousands of experienced owner-operator drivers lost their trucks because of rising prices.  Many of these experienced truckers retired early, requiring the training of more beginning drivers. That increases the percentage and actual numbers of inexperienced truck drivers on the road, which creates new hazards to the public. The actual number of rookie-trucker accidents can be expected to increase, a further cost increase for us all.
It isn't only the airline industry whose biggest cost is fuel.  Cost of truck transportation affects every one of us, unlike the cost of flying.
Kathy Young
(recently retired longhaul truck driver and owner-operator)

Robertson sparks firestorm

With respect to Norah O'Donnell’s article on Pat Roberton’s comment, it is well known in the Christian community that missionaries and people with views contrary to current the current government of Venezuela have been disappearing (killed, assassinated, etc.) for at least a few years.  This is all in preparation for the evitable rule of Castro.  The sentiment of Venezuela towards the United States is not at stake here.  This is much more than PR.  Pat Robertson is reflecting the sentiment of the Venezuelan people towards Chavez.
It would be very unfortunate for you or other medias to report on this issue based on a comment when there is so much more that the American people deserve to know about the current state of Venezuela.
Thank you for listening and may God bless your efforts to uncover truth.
Vincente

• Aug. 23, 2005

Pat Robertson: Kill Venezuela’s president

I find it interesting that Pat Robertson, a self proclaimed man of God says that we should assassinate the leader of another country. My question to Mr. Robertson is: Who would Jesus kill?
Scott Kesselman

What kind of Christian is Pat Robertson ? He must have gotten the other version of the Ten Commandments, the one that says Thou Shalt Kill When Its Convenient. He is ignorant of the fact that Chavez was elected and is not a dictator. Robertson seems as uninformed and unenlightened as any jihadist mullah.
Vince Kiraly

Has Pat Robertson become a terrorist? If any Muslim cleric was in the U.S. and spoke to his followers in a way that not only was anti government, but also insightful to violence, then the FBI would immediately begin watching that person and begin building a case for further actions, to include restriction of movement and possible arrest for violation of laws.
Robertson’s recent statements against the Venezuelan President should classify him in the same category as any religious zealot. Not only has he brought a black eye to his organization, but also he is treading in water that many people have wished would not be churned, separation of the ultra religious and politics. There will always be room for those that have spiritual convictions in politics and government as long as a careful balance is maintained in not allowing decisions based strictly on scripture that may not reflect the personal beliefs of those that are represented. For Robertson to publicly express his support of using these tactics he is on the same level as those extremist in other countries that cry for the death of the American President.
Jeff Marquez

Sen. Hagel sees echoes of Vietnam in Iraq

I served during the Vietnam war and the volumn of troups dying are not the same but similar. Booby traps, you don't know your enemy, suicide attacks, and the American public turning against the war for Bush got us in this mess and all was lies. I really can't believe anyone with good sense would think that Saddam had anything to do with 911.
He did help the Palestinians for sure, but that was it. Now we have a can of worms in Iraq, the terriosts have come into play in Iraq and our poor guys and gals are stuck there with no hope in sight for peace.
Tell me where were the liberation was and the cheering. They don't even want us in their country. Bring them home and let's work to solve America's problems.
Frank

• Aug. 22, 2005

When you care enough to risk everything ...

Your article on greeting cards for the adulterer is depraved, in my opinion. It seems to aggrandize betrayal and misery, while advertising for the adult book store-type businesses.
You should be ashamed of yourself.
Eric C. Lorentzen

This is the worst idea I ever heard of — isn't bad enough adultery is sinful in the eyes of the Lord and now were promoting it by sending adultery cards? Oh Lord, what next. I hope no one buys the pitiful cards. Maybe if people would spend more time working on their marriages they wouldn't need these stupid cards, or better yet, send a love letter to your spouse.
Bonnie Nimerfroh

I wasn't surprised to learn someone finally decided to "tap into" this "untapped market." I was, however, very disappointed someone actually has.
I realize Ms. Gallagher, the "entrepreneur" who created that greeting card line, has convinced herself she is merely a "businesswoman" and is neither condemning nor supporting adultery. But I wonder how she sleeps at night, knowing in her heart of hearts she is actually exploiting this "niche" she's found has gone "untapped" for so long, rather than merely "tapping into" it.
There's a reason it's gone untapped for so long, Ms. Gallagher: No one has wanted to or been willing to be so blatantly, patently exploitive of something (extramarital affairs) that are ultimately so hurtful and usually so destructive. It's very sad you chose to stoop that low, just to try to make a buck. I hope with all my heart your "business" venture fails miserably. Affairs shouldn't be celebrated — and they most definitely should never be allowed to be so callously exploited. I hope you see the error of your ways and quietly close up shop, rather than continue to attempt to market this "product line."
I realize this is America, and while I feel entrepreneurs should be encouraged and supported and all that, this is one occasion where I'll make an exception to that rule. Because, to me at least, these cards are as wrongly out of place and out of line as they would be if Ms. Gallagher had decided to similarly celebrate/exploit murderers, rapists, child molesters, domestic violence, or people going to prison or being executed for their crimes, etc., etc.
Bottom line? As far as I'm concerned, there really isn't a need for "a card for EVERY occasion." Especially not this one.
Todd E. Van Dell


Researchers creating life from scratch

These kind of articles that take words out of context like "Create" can be misleading to the public. Fist of all man does not, has not, and likely ever will create anything. Everything that we have that man has developed has been "pro-created " from what has already existed including even the most complicated aspects of  science, technology, biology of every form and the mathematical formulas that relate to them.
Men discover these processes because they have always been here. Without that which already exists including the natural occurring elements men would be somewhat embarrassed in his ability to do anything. Scientists are continually patting themselves on the back for their great achievements in the sciences yet completely ignore the one who put it all here in the first place. I believe the term that would be appropriate is "plagiarism" when it comes to writing their papers on any given discovery.
John Budge

Sen. Hagel sees echoes of Vietnam in Iraq

Where in the world did the good people of Nebraska dig up this guy? I served two combat tours in Vietnam and I'll tell you that there are no "echoes of Vietnam" in Iraq. Somebody needs to tell Hagel to go soak his head and get behind the effort instead of trying to make a name for himself.
RA Platt

Frist voices support for ‘intelligent design’

Frist should be ashamed of himself. Science cannot have anything to do with faith as he insists. If, as opponents of evolution claim, the idea is to expose students to alternative theories, then why is the only alternative theory being floated intelligent design, which is nothing more than creationism without the word God in it. While whatever creator proponents of ID may envision may very well be intelligent it is clear that they are not.
Andy McMurray

In the (AP) story, Frist voices support for ‘intelligent design,’ the senator encourages teaching of faith-based theory alongside evolution the article's subhead and text refer to intelligent design as a "theory."
It is not; the proponents of intelligent design have never articulated a theory, and a reporter calling ID a theory does not make it one.
Editorializing is a bad move in a news story. Editorializing that introduces incorrect "facts" into the story is worse. I hope you'll do better in the future.
Alex Merz


• Aug. 19, 2005

Septuagenarian indicted in love-triangle killing

As a person in my early seventies I resent the fact that you're implying 78 year olds aren't supposed to have feelings and a life, although the woman did a terrible thing. Also I believe this is against discrimination laws for the class of elderly people to be singled out as a group.
Abe Simon

Is a hybrid car worth the gas savings?

I was very surprised to see such inaccurate information from such a respected news source. I bought a 2005 Toyota Prius three months ago. The insurance costs me $20/month more than the 1994 Cadillac with 180K miles that I used to drive.
That's quite fair, I think, for a car that is considerably more valuable.
These cars depreciate less than anything else out there. I bought a brand new Prius because prices on 2004 models were the same or MORE than a new car. The newer Prius is a big improvement over the 2003 and earlier models, but even many of those are barely less than a new Prius. Go to www.cars.com and look for yourself. The top 100 (out of 465) 2003 or earlier models are $20,000 or more.
I also don't know how a Prius could get 35 mpg unless it was in poor working order. The WORST I've ever done was going 80-85 MPH in a headwind, and that was about 42-43 mpg. My usual driving is short hops, stop and start, often too short to let the car warm up, very bad conditions for gas mileage and I average 44-46 mpg. In better conditions I consistently get over 50 mpg. This is very typical of the many other Prius drivers I've talked to in person and on line.
Gas prices are up. The refineries are producing as fast as they can. Our best hope is to DECREASE fuel consumption. Please don't discourage anything that can help our current situation, and especially not with grossly inaccurate information. I'm really surprised this one made it to the public.
Kristin Cunningham

BTK killer starts life sentence in prison

I do care about whether the BTK defendant gets life or not, what I REALLY CARE ABOUT is just a blurb of that story, please do not put him in the front page so much...it sends a wrong message to the other sickos out there that they too, can enjoy the benefits of media coverage...please keep these stories to a small blurb. Same with entertainment stories.
Tracey

The Stones may be old, but they can still rock

The article on the Rolling Stones written by Helen Popkin or whatever her name is is so offensive I cannot believe it! She should keep it an be forced to read it when she's 60. The guys are doing what they do and doing it well. And the price of continuing to breathe when so many other rock bands have overdosed or broken up is that you get older and older.
I am in my 60s and am not a fogey or in a wheelchair, nor do I consider myself fodder for ridicule and jokes when I continue to pursue my profession and these guys shouldn't be either.  She should publicly apologize and you should too for giving her the podium. 
Karen Gibson

Feds fight release of Abu Ghraib abuse photos

Release the photos, don't release them, it really does not matter. Here is why. Gen. Myers statement that these videos and photos will become part of the Al-Qaeda propaganda mill shows the disconnect that the agents of the Bush administration still maintain about their War on Terror or Struggle for Freedom or whatever buzzwords they spent millions thinking of are being used this week.
Al-Qaeda is already using Abu Ghraib, the governments in Iraq and Afghanistan are no where near stable and terrorist attacks continue on a daily basis.
As for the ACLU's assertion through retired U.S. Army Col.Michael E. Pheneger that the release will cause public examination of these acts and a first step in preventing similar acts is nearly as insane as Myers' statement. Does the ACLU even know what a war is? It seems they, the Bush administration and for the most part, the American public, have no idea.
Andy McMurray


• Aug. 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's protest in Crawford, Texas

Cindy Sheehan has finally found a place to assemble her spectacle near the presidents home that won't inconvenience the local population nearly as much. Good for her. I hope she plans on restoring all the plant life and grass that she and her marauding raiders trampled down. We residents  of Texas don't take kindly to folks destroying our roadsides or littering them up with sticks and paper no mater how sentimental they think they are.
I figured by now Cindy would have taken the hint and went home. I guess though, that as long as the media films her and shoves a microphone in her face she will continue to protest.
I can understand a mothers grief even over a year after her son perished in Iraq but I don't understand why it took her so long to come forward in protest. What Cindy needs to understand is that when her son raised his right hand and swore to defend the constitution from both foreign and domestic enemies he wasn't given an option to pick and chose his fight. That was up to Washington and those people charged with that mission. President Bush could not have gotten us into this war all by himself. There were many hurdles that had to be over come and the war blessing came from many different people that could have intervened to stop it at any point along the way and did not.
What Cindy is doing is not going to bring anyone home any sooner from Iraq or prevent any more soldiers from being killed or her son back. In fact it may cause more deaths and an increase in attacks as the insurgents watch TV too and they read the paper and use the internet and may take this as a sign of a weakening resolve and a prime time to attack. Attacking an enemy when its moral is down has caused many a battle to be lost and you can bet the soldiers over there are hearing about her protesting the war and what they are trying to do. That would be a heavy burden Cindy, if you caused the deaths of American soldiers because of your mouth. Maybe someone needs to explain that possibility to her.
Rick

Cindy Sheehan's protest underscores a very essential point: war, especially pre-emptive war, should never be a primary instrument of foreign policy as the Bush Administration has made it out to be.
War is never a noble cause; it is, at best, a tragic necessity, such as World War II when we were speaking the only language the agressor regimes in Japan and Germany understood--the language of military violence.
Mothers should NEVER be expected to sacrifice their sons for dubious reasons, or to satisfy the foreign policy ambitions of a few neo-con theorists. War is the total breakdown of the moral and civilized order; it is the worst case, and should be resorted to by nations only under the conditions of the gravest crisis, such as when our nation is under the undeniably direct and actual threat of sustained violence by another nation or organization and our very land and people face widespread destruction.
Carl, Bozeman MT

President Bush certainly found the time to intervene with regards to the Terry Schiavo situation. If he grants Cindy a meeting, he would be responding to questions that millions of other citizens of this country would like answers to.
Amy B.

In response to the letter from Robert W. on Aug 16th

Cindy Sheehan is a citizen of the United States, and as such she has the right and the responsibility to question the decisions of the elected officials, if she disagrees with them.  The president works for us, we hired him and we pay him. Despite what Bush thinks, he does have to answer to the people. Despite what you or I think of Cindy Sheehan's ideas and beliefs, she is only doing her duty as a citizen, and we should all respect her rights.
Ross F.
Spartanburf, SC

Is a hybrid car worth the gas savings?

In the first listed above, you report that the hybrids depreciate more quickly and in the second you report (correctly) that automotive experts say that the Prius is the first economy car with a higher resale value.
Your first story is an anecdotal and unwarranted slam at the Prius.  Why?  I've owned a 2004 Prius for more than a year.  I get between 45 and 49 mpg in the city and better than 50 on the highway, and so do the several other Prius drivers I know.  And the sheer idiocy of relating the comments about how much it costs to fill a tank is breathtaking.  The cost of filling a tank reflects two things only:  how much gas costs and how big your tank is.  It has nothing to do with mileage.  What kind of agenda is at work here?  Que pasa?
Cynthia Carle

I am the owner of a 2005 Toyota Prius and find your article about the hybrid not true. Please keep your reporting to the facts and not false opinions. Don't lump all the hybrids in the same category just because they have dual power. My Toyota is efficient and gets 46 plus mpg average. It is also cheaper to insure than my other vehicle. The Prius is making its own statement. Listen to it.
Lloyd Lesikar

• Aug. 16, 2005

Grieving mother’s war protest draws supporters

Just who does Cindy Sheehan think she is?  While I sympathize with her and will all families who have lost a loved one in this war, I want to remind her that she isn't the 1st mother who has lost a son or daughter and she won't be the last.  But to expect the President of the United States to "drop by for a chat" is absolutely ludicrous . . . God bless you Mrs. Sheehan, but pack up your tent and go home!  You are jeopardizing national security and making a mockery of everything your Son and his military brethren stand for.
—Robert W., USA, Ret
Northfield Center, OH

According to some news reports Mrs. Sheehan's protest actions are going to affect troop morale.  Well I've got news for the spider that spun that web, I talk to one of the troops over there on almost a bi-weekly basis.  He and several of his unit members are aware of her protest actions and they're pretty dismayed that Mr. Bush has not had the decency to walk out there and comfort this woman...she's right there!  Or at least send his wife out!  This woman is in pain and represents the mothers of everyone over there.
—Gwen

Motorists keep on pumping

Your Article "Motorists Keep on Pumping" only gives incentinves to oil companines and gas stations to keep on raising prices. These articles that continue to state that these record gas prices are not hurting the American consumer are misleading, news stations should be reporting how they are affecting us not just playing into the oil companies plans to keep prices rising. Its not a coincidence that everytime someone breaks a nail at a refinery now its major news, they want oil traders to know about all the problems to keep the prices high.  I wish the American news media would stop reporting how we are taking these prices in stride, and how its not affecting us and start reporting the truth!
— J Dotson

New trend in teen fiction: Racy reads

'Racy Reads' (August 15) was an irresponsible and ill-informed piece of journalism. To lump R.A. Nelson's TEACH ME together with a mass-market series like the Gossip Girls demonstrates a genuine lack of knowledge about the field of young-adult literature. The former is a thoughtful, well-written book on a controversial subject--precisely the kind of book that can stimulate concerned discussion among teens and between parents and their children.

You did your readers and viewers a disservice with 'Racy Reads,' opting for sensationalism over what could have been an informative and helpful story.

Linda Sue Park
Author, A Single Shard (2002 Newbery Medal Award)

Rap sheets that refuse to RIP

I am a 61 year old man who has become frozen in time because of stupid mistake I made in July 1967, when I was 23.

I was arrested by Federal border patrol officers for brining 1.5 oz. of marijuana into the United States from Mexico.  I "made bail," returned to Laredo, TX in October 1967, pleaded guilty to a felony called "failure to pay the marijuana transfer tax," and in December was sentenced to three years imprisonment which was suspended for five years.  Under the provisions of what was then called The Young Adult Offenders Act, my probation was set at five years.  If I finshed my time before December 1972 my conviction would be vacated and I could tell prospective employers I had no conviction.

Both sides adhered to the bargain.  I kept my nose clean, got married, went to graduate school, and in October 1972 received a discharge from probation signed by the sentencing Judge in Laredo, and by the Probation commissioner in Albany, New York.  It said expressly I had a vacated, non-reportable conviction.

Someone lied.  I had jobs through the 1970s, '80, and even '90s.  I cleared background checks with two large investment banks in New York. 

In 2000 I my background came to light again at a third investment bank. 

No action was taken.  Common sense prevailed over legalism, but I was told it would cost me up to $10,000 to fight the error.

In early 2002 I attempted to get a teaching license in New Jersey.  The license came but so did a letter from the Criminal Investigations office indicating I would never teach in any school system, drive a bus in any school system, or work for any company having business with a school system.  My fingerprints showed a conviction and release from probation but that was all.  When I forwarded the 1972 documents to the New Jersey Department of Education I was cleared for one town, but the said I'd have this problem from one town to the next.  It was a non-issue.

Nobody ever contacted or replied to me again.

The US Attorney in Laredo, Texas advised me to send my paperwork to the FBI Records Office in Clarksburg, WV.  I did so in December 2002.  In the spring of 2003 I received a reply, indicating that my fingerprint and arrest records had been destroyed and my conviction was formally expunged.  It had never happened.

Only it had and still happens.

In July I was rejected by a financial services firm in Jersey because I had an expunged conviction.  The Insurance Department in Trenton still refuses to recognize expunged convictions as out of the record.  The New Jersey Department of Insurance overrides Federal criminal practice and is a law unto itself.

No school system will even reject me.  I simply fall into a black hole.

I made a dumb mistake many, many years ago.  I paid for it.  But no, according to The Authorities, expiation is never complete, suffering continues, and punishment goes on forever.  Such is justice not must in Massachusetts but in New Jersey as well.  I do not know if this is a national scandal but only people like me coming forward and risking ourselves will help bring it to light and perhaps end it.
— Kenneth Wolman
Sea Bright, NJ

Asian protests over Japanese WWll atrocities

I find it somewhat ironic that the people of Asia are protesting the actions of the Japanese empire during (and preceding) the U.S. involvement in World War ll while the U.S. media is absorbed in the 'guilt' of dropping two atomic bombs that resulted in the end of this war. Perhaps those who question the wisdom of that decision might have a frank discussion with those who suffered the deprivations and deaths of Japanese conquest and occupation.
— Steve Bragg

U.S. gas prices set another record high

I am amused every time I read your articles regarding the "high price of gas."  I have determined those who write these reports find their information from small, local demographic polls or opinions of co-workers and those in their own immediate vicinity.  I live in Reno, Nevada and travel extensively in Nevada and California.  I would enjoy gas prices at $2.40 a gallon - in fact, I would save over 25 cents a gallon if that were the price.  I have not seen gas that cheap for over a year!  And I know the trucking industry would be thrilled to pay $2.40 a gallon for diesel.  Reno receives heavy trucking traffic because I-80 and I-395 converge in town, therefore the price of diesel is essential to our economic base.  However, now diesel is more than gas - something I did not believe would happen considering the trucking industry and the impact on the cost of shipping goods.  Next time one of your staffers writes about gas prices, it would be beneficial to those on this side of country if our needs were also considered.  As it is now, west coast citizens - who number in the millions - scoff at east coast reports regarding gas prices.  They simply are not realistic.  Let's face it, for a long time now citizens on the west coast have paid far more than what everyone else is crying about - and yet that seems to go unnoticed on a regular basis.
—Teresa

Woman says 'McDonald's diet' took off weight

Hiya,
I just read the AP story about the woman who lost weight on her "McDonald's Diet".  You really should have room for more feedback on these stories.  I wanted to write in!  I just lost 60 pounds on a McDonalds Diet.  It's the only take-out place in our area, and I went there daily.  I counted calories.  I ate no salads, rarely had shakes, but regularly ordered the "large" portions with regular Coke.

It really goes to show that "eating less and exercising" is the ONLY real way to lose weight.  Fad diets don't work.  Pills don't work.  Okay, pills once helped me lose 100 lbs... but within 10 years, that weight was all back.

Congratulations to this woman.  Not only for losing weight, but for proving that some silly little book isn't gospel.
—Jim Guenthner

Blaming video game fails for murder defense

Hello,
I read your story on the case of the 20-year-old who tried to use video games as a reason for killing three police officers.  May I say, it was very well written.  I also noticed that the families of the victims are bringing civil suits against the manufacturers of the game and two stores who sold it.  I just want to say that I agree with the jury who found the young man guilty, but as far as the families are concerned, if they felt this man couldn't use the video games as an excuse for committing his crime, how can they sue the manufacturers and the stores because they allegedly cause people to commit such crimes?  Isn't that a double-standard?  I can see if they  lobby Congress to have laws passed that would prohibit such games from ever seeing the light of day based on public safety (certain drugs are labeled illegal based on health and safety issues), but these families are obviously in agreement with how this case is going and if this man couldn't use his excuse for committing the crimes, how can they use his excuse to sue these companies?  How can our legal system even consider such cases viable?  How do they justify doing something logically contradictory to what they had hoped would be accomplished through the judicial system?  I am always in awe with how people think and worse, how lawyers convince these people they may be right.  Please, do not get me wrong, I understand the pain and grief these families feel for the loss of their loved ones and the way in which they died, but their anger and grief for such an injustice can be directed into a more productive course of action than the counterproductive suit that would seem based more on monetary gain than societal change.
—Jean

Is Al Franken screwing up the United States?

Mr. Goldberg should be commended on his clear and decisive identification of the source of all of America's problems.  It's not that we are a greedy, over-consuming nation steeped in feelings of entitlement and superiority - it's that some ungrateful liberals refuse to share in the spoils of our power, and instead insist on pointing out that perhaps we really AREN'T entitled to everything to which we lay claim.  Mr. Goldberg is right - if we simply stop acknowledging our misdeeds and our involvement in the creation of our own problems, and those of others, there will BE no problems.  History, after all, is written by the victors.  If we just silence all the ungrateful foreigners and pinko liberals, history will view us as the saintly, perfect beings Mr. Goldberg obviously believes we are.
—Dave Wesner
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Teacher goes to jail for sleeping with student

The teacher didn't "sleep" with the student.  She had sexual intercourse with a minor.  Stop soft-soaping what is happening just because the perpetrator is a female.  She's a child molestor no matter how one looks at the evidence.
—Miss C. M. Lavallee

• Aug. 11, 2005

CIA-leak timeline

Please have your reporters use words that are acceptable to english speakers. This morning's (9:15 AM) piece about Mr. Rove includes the following paragraph which contains a word which may be CIA slang but is not for common use in the english language.
"Federal law prohibits government officials from divulging the identity of an undercover intelligence officer. But in order to bring charges, prosecutors must prove the official knew the officer was covert and nonetheless outed his or her identity."
"Outed" might easily have been replaced by "revealed", "exposed", or even "stated." I consider it an obligation of journalists to reinforce our language in order to maintain clarity. Trying to make "out" a verb is silly.
Please pass this on to those who evidently need to know.
James P. Duke

Conservative organization to oppose Roberts

Your article "Conservative Organization to Oppose Roberts" was pitiful.  I am pretty up on my current events and have heard of a lot of lobbying and activists groups, but I never in my life heard of the group "Public Advocate of the United States."  Apparently you hadn't either.
A search for a reference to the group on your own website and turned up nothing -- not a single reference to the group.  I looked at their website and they have taken stands on some pretty explosive and current issues, such as school prayer, same sex marriage, taxes, abortion, and faith-based initiatives, but MSNBC never took them seriously enough to quote them even once.  Now, however, splashed on the front page is the fact that this previously unheard of group is opposed to Roberts.  If you never cared about what this group said about anything before, why do you care now?  Wait ... I got it.
Maybe you can whip up a frenzy about Roberts (e.g., NARAL hates him, conservatives hate him -- is he fit for the highest court in the land?).  I get it: create news and create advertising dollars.  How about just reporting the news instead of trying to make it?  Given that "Public Advocate of the United States" is such an important group that you quoted them with regard to its opinion on a Supreme Court nominee, I'm sure you will continue to quote its opinions on other issues as well.  I look forward to seeing your future coverage of the opinions of "Public Advocate of the United States" with regard to its criticisms about liberals and their causes.  Next time why don't you just quote Ann Coulter, at least people have heard of her.
Eric C. Bellafronto


Nonsmokers can get lung cancer, too
To whom it may concern:  Thank you for posting this article from the AP on your website.  This is one of the few accurate and compassionate articles I have seen on this disease, the need for awareness, funding, research and acceptance. 
Katie Brown,President
Lung Cancer Support Community, www.lchelp.org

Letters feedback

Although I know that most comments are directed to stories, I have to take issue with letters from 2 readers of MSNBC.com.
Both refer to the story of the death of John Johnson. One implies that MSNBC doesn't show an interest in issues of African Americans, despite the long standing existance of the US NEWS subsection Race In America, which is primarily devoted soley to non-european Americans, including African Americans.  The other reader claimed that the John Johnson story was "buried" in the Entertainment Section.
(1) The story is NOT buried in Entertainment.  It was there because that is where John Johnson had the greatest effect on individuals (as pointed out by the other reader).
(2) There is a link to the story in the previously mentioned Race In America section.
It is that type of misinformation and deception by the two readers that leads to misunderstanding, ignorance, and animosity between the races.
Andrew Rhodes

• Aug. 9, 2005

Discovery lands safely after 14 days in space

Just want to let you know how much I appreciate your streaming the live video feed of the shuttle return.  This is great use of your resources & technology, thank you.
Bryan Gregory

Ebony magazine creator dies at age 87

I wanted to voice my displeasure about your burying the story on the death of Ebony Magazine Founder John H. Johnson. As someone who was instrumental in fighting the negative stereotypes of African-Americans, I am dismayed that he doesn’t deserve more than a mention in the entertainment section. His contribution to our culture is far reaching.  Without him, there would be no “Essence” or “Latina” magazines. TVONE, BET and other minority entertainment sources would not exist.  Indeed, the recognition of blacks as an economic power was aided by his persistence in seeking out advertising dollars from companies like GM and Proctor & Gamble. With all due respect, I find that he was just as influential a person as Peter Jennings-and he deserved to be recognized as such.  How strange that your competition at CNN.com has already acknowledge that. You would do well to take their lead.
Sincerely
Jennifer Jackson-Outlaw

MSNBC & Politics

MSNBC.com and MSNBC television have both tanked all the way to the Right. It was obvious during the presidential election coverage and ever since where your allegiance lies. You definitely only care about the Right and the conservative agenda.
You do not address:
Minority Issues-Particularly African American Men
Women’s Issues
The poor and lower middle class
It is particularly disturbing that you do not have a front page story/heading on the death of John Johnson. John Johnson has done far more for this country than Christopher Reeve’s widow Dana has ever done. You should know that people are watching, paying attention, and listening to you and we are not pleased.
Reggie Higgins

Mom of fallen soldier leads Bush protest

I want to express my admiration for Mrs. Sheehan's determination and courage.  She is doing what our Senators and Representatives should be doing.  Demanding that the President explain why he lied about invading Iraq.  Mrs. Sheehan has earned that right. 
The President apparently sent two high level staffers out to Mrs. Sheehan's camp site to try to persuade her to go home.  Members of the President's Secret Service tried harassing her, implying she might get run over by a Secret Service SUV if she was standing beside the road.
How much like Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame must Mrs. Sheehan feel?  We see how the President treats his loyalists, and we see how he treats citizens he considers to be some kind of threat. 
As has been proven repeatedly, this President puts loyalty to him and his agenda above moral value.  What this President doesn't realize is the American citizens do have a sense of right and wrong and to often he is falling on the wrong side of the equation.  As though all bars, levels, standards, values, and attitudes take second place to what he considers to be the greater good.
Mrs. Sheehan, the Tillman's, the Lynch's, the Wilson's are as voices crying in the wilderness for now,  their numbers will grow to be a force that will be heard.  If we fail to listen may their blood be on our hands.
Bill Justice
Beckley, WV

Lung cancer can strike almost without warning

Thank you so much for your item on Lung cancer.  My mother died 5 years ago from resectable lung cancer.  She lived 21 months after the diagnosis. 
It is distressing to see so many young people smoking.  I hope your article about the low survival rate and limited options is a wake-up call to all smokers.
Vicki Molnar

NCAA more offensive than school nicknames

Being a Seminole fan and booster, I find it outrageous that the NCAA has banned the use of the name Seminoles from FSU.  Florida State has the endorsement of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
What is next, Gators are a protected species, Hurricanes cause death and destruction in Florida.  Will the NCAA ban the use of there logo's also?? 
You would think the NCAA would have better things to do.  Educate athletes on the use of steroids, promote graduation from college.  There are many things the NCAA should do, but banning logo's that have been used for decades is senseless.
Rich Sudder
FSU 1976 MBA
Our son, Rich Sudder, Benjamin 1989, FSU 1993 was a member of the Varsity Football Team from 89-93.

• Aug. 8, 2005

Moment of silence as Hiroshima recalls bomb

The Japanese happily slaughtered seven million Chinese citizens and killed one-hundred thousand United States Armed Forces personnel during World War II.  They aren't numbers.  They're flesh and blood people. Their ultimate sacrifice should command your respect and temper your decision to portray the Japanese in World War II as victims of anything.  You can take every single page ever written by the media or revisionist modern day scholars agonizing over the atomic bomb and you still can't sop up all the blood spilled by the Japanese war machine.  Joseph Keenan, chief prosecutor representing the United States at the war crimes trial eloquently called the Japanese: "...plain, ordinary murderers."  As the son of a US Naval officer spared by the dropping of the atomic bomb I speak for those you chose to ignore.  Their moment of silence has lasted 60 years.
Ed Hardiman

RE:Coverage of Hiroshima bombing.  As horrible as it was, and should never happen again, it's impossible to stop time at that point and imagine what more horrors would have ensued had the war gone on.  While we empathize and feel sorry for the people killed and injured, it's not productive to carry on any guilt to the present day generation, just like none of us killed any American Indians or held any slaves.
The past happened in the context of the time. Truman did what he thought was best, and most of my father's generation accepted it as a good decision. We wouldn't do it again today, but let's not add to the ugly American image.
J. Bess


A reliable voice through changing times

I am amazed that the article “A reliable voice through changing times,” by Michael Ventre, has received such a high rating.  Why are so many people not challenging the lead statement: The last trustworthy American was born a Canadian 
This may be an emotional, personal point of view but to say “…last trustworthy American…” doesn’t make sense.  From what country does Michael Ventre register his citizenship?  Then Michael Ventre takes us through two paragraphs away from the message about Jennings only to return later to the purpose of the article.  
Who was the gatekeeper on this type of writing?
Marv Broman

• Aug. 5, 2005

Which Dodge Charger is for you?

In the comparison, “Which Dodge Charger is for you?” you forgot one very important characteristic about the Duke’s of Hazzard car: THE HORN!
Jonathan

Bush and Iraq

There's something funny about the American president taking a moment from yet another vacation to declare he's not bothered by threats made against England.
Paul Miller

CNN suspends Robert Novak

Robert Novak's character finally came through his veneer.  He's just another bully who can dish it out but can't take it.  The same as all the other right-wingers.
Howard Dropkin

• Aug. 4, 2005

Heavy load: Marines hit hardest in Iraq

The Anbar province duty is also shared by the 155th Brigade of the US Army National Guard out of Mississippi. They are attached to that Marine division. I'm a former member of that unit prior to my active duty, and have friends there.
Just thought it was fair to share that as well. It isn't as if the Marines alone have been given that more risky duty. And, if you've ever met a die hard Marine (is there any other kind of Marine?), I think you'd agree that they probably volunteered for the toughest duty there was available.
Also, I believe that the 29 percent of the deaths figure you used was (very unfortunately) dramatically increased by the recent death of 14 Marines in one vehicle. I believe the percentage lost was much closer to a relative 17% prior to that one bomb blast.
John "JT" Helms

Baseball and steroids

How unfortunate that this continues. Athletes are considered "gods" by some, particularly young people. They would be better served by looking up to their parents, teachers and other professional people who make "real" contributions to the world.  While surfing tv  last night, I happened upon a sports writer/author who makes the statement that the public clamors for better performance from athletes, I disagree; they like it and cheer louder when athletes do, but I place the onus for that on the owners/coaches.
After all, it isn't just a sport, it's "bidness."  I do agree with sanctions/penalties. What I really have a hard time with is having Congress doing the investigation or inquiry.  Now there is an august body of fine, upstanding elected citizens. I say let the sports authorities do the policing and politics/politicians stay out of it. 
Lettie Douglass
Lancaster, TX

NASA says further shuttle fixes are unneeded

How can we be "exploring" when we spend all of our time looking over the space craft for damage? Given the private sector is about to launch commercial flights into space, the available new technology warrants scrapping the current shuttle program.
Loren Freestone

Iraq attacks hit Ohio military families hard

I found your headline "Ohio Families Fed Up" with reference to the recent Marine reservist deaths incredibly misleading.  A review of the story reveals only one statement that remotely approached being "fed up," and that came from a single individual, a doughnut shop operator who might not even be related to any of the deceased Marines, who commented to the effect that she was all for protection but the situation was getting "a little ridiculous."  Did I miss something, or did MSNBC decide to stir the pot by sensationalizing in the headline what the report really stated?
Jim Craig

• Aug. 3, 2005

Coming to a Theater Near You

I feel the Hollywood honchos and industry fortune tellers are missing some of the most obvious reason why people who once looked forward to a weekly trip to the Cineplex are now choosing to stay way. The quality of the current viewing experience has plummeted.
Take for example a recent experience I had when going see “Batman Returns”. Bypassing the concession stand because I refuse to pay insulting prices for low quality snacks I made it to my seat just in time to be treated to four commercials and one plea for donations to a charity. Throughout the previews I was constantly distracted by late comers stumbling through the dark in an attempt to find a seat and settle-in. Once the feature started and throughout the entirety of the film I was treated to a chorus of the newest and coolest cell phone ring tones, snippets of frivolous phone conversations, crying babies, and running movie commentaries form inconsiderate movie goers.
As if this were not bad enough, the film, which is purposely dark to begin with, looked as if it was being projected through a piece of black cotton cloth. This can no doubt be attributed to an industry wide practice of lowering the power of the projector bulb in absurd attempt to prolong the life of the bulb. What it actually does is comprise the viewing experience for the paying customer.
My recommendation to Hollywood forecasters who are so worried about the future of the film industry is to start by raising the quality of the movie going experience today. Ban the practice of running commercials before the screening of a film. Do more to eliminate the use of cell phones during movies. Insist that the Cineplex’s that show the films better monitor the theaters throughout the film screening to combat inconsiderate movie goers. And finally, institute an industry standard of projection quality that will allow the movie to be viewed as the filmmaker had intended.
I love movies and I love going to the movies. I am confident that there are a lot of movie- goers out there who, like me, would go out to the Cineplex much more often if only a little bit more was done to increase the quality of the viewing experience.
James Brisbin

McNabb must put T.O. in his place
Michael Ventre called Donovan McNabb a man today, and then tried to meekly imply that he is allowing himself to become a mouse by not publicly speaking out against T.O. and frankly what I think is his idiotic plan to hold out for more money.
The real problem is not McNabb and Brett Favre should have never spoken out about Jevon Walker either. The real problem is white sports writers who want all the QB’s in the NFL to act like Favre and the owners who continuously undercut themselves each time they allow Drew Rosenhaus or any other agent to turn the owners and sports writers into mice and no longer men. Donovan McNabb has the utmost respect from football fans precisely because he minds his own business and plays the game to the best of his ability and he never trumps himself over other players even when he stands head and shoulders above the rest. Ms. Ventre should find herself another occupation frankly. Maybe covering wedding gowns for Vanity Fair.
Roger Hagen

• Aug. 1, 2005

Women should keep ovaries with hysterectomy

My mother-in-law has suffered with ovarian cancer for 8 years! She had a hysterectomy and kept her ovaries. A year later she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The cancer has now spread over her entire body, she's in constant pain. Right now she is at home (in bed most of the day) with a tumor so large you can see it portruding from her stomach through her clothes. And all of this is after the years of sickening chemotherapy "treatment."
Perhaps you should try reporting both sides of the story. The information you provide could possibly make a woman lean toward keeping her ovaries, which could turn out to be a long, painful, and eventually deadly decision. 
Mel-in-Tex

Do Cargo-Hauling Astronauts Really Lift 15 tons?

The article points out the critical distinction between mass and weight and the true mass of the cargo being hauled around in space. However, the article points out that NASA needs to recalculate its cargo mass projections in designing or buying the next generation space shuttle. This is wrong.
The writer clearly fails to acknowledge that while 15 tons in space is not really 15 tons, 15 tons at shuttle launch is really 15 tons. The Italian-built cargo module may weigh a few tons on Earth and the cargo in it may be only 2-3 tons, but this total of nearly 15 tons needs to escape Earth's atmosphere.
The shuttle (or its replacement) has to sit here on Earth with that cargo until it is launched. Then, for the few minutes it is being launched into space, it has to actually carry that cargo to where the weight is 0 (where weight (w) = mass (m) X gravity (g).) I am sure the writer knew of the w=mg equation he learned in elementary physics, and once in space, gravity does not exist as 9.8 anymore, but rather as 0. Thus there is no weight in space, and the shuttle no longer "feels" weighed down because there is no weight.
The reason, I believe, NASA states such high figures is that from the time the shuttle is launched until the time the shuttle reaches space, 15 tons is truly 15 tons that the shuttle must forcibly carry toward space. There must be enough thrust, hence the External Booster, to push the shuttle and its cargo in all of its glory into space. The shuttle's infrastructure, in that few minutes (maybe 1 or 2 minutes) has to withstand the weight of 15 tons pulling down, while the Booster is pushing up. That's why the Russian's built the Energya rocket, and that's why the Saturn V rocket was built to take Apollo crews to the moon.
Jonathan Tang

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